Volume 32 - Article 42 | Pages 1147–1176  

Emerging, transitory or residual? One-person households in Viet Nam

By Christophe Guilmoto, Myriam de Loenzien

This article is part of the Special Collection 15 "Living Alone: One-person households in Asia"


Background: The rise of one-person households in Viet Nam remains poorly documented, in spite of its significant growth since the 1990s and its relevance to the understanding of social and demographic change.

Objective: We aim to present a systematic analysis of the growing number of one-person households, interpret recent trends and describe the main characteristics of the population living alone.

Methods: Our research is drawn from the 2009 census. Cross-tabulations are followed by regression analysis modelling of the probability of living alone. A cluster analysis identifies the profiles of people in one-person households. Finally an in-depth analysis of the most vulnerable type of one-person households is done.

Results: Our analysis stresses the heterogeneity of the population living alone, in which we can identify four distinct profiles. The largest cluster is comprised of elderly widows and widowers. It arguably constitutes the most fragile population segment, as illustrated by several health and economic indicators. The second cluster comprises a more heterogeneous population, but only composed of persons who have not moved during the last five years. The third and fourth clusters are made up of migrants. Along with age, marital status tends to be the primary factor explaining the probability of a person living alone in Viet Nam. However, the rise in one-person households may be as much related to the gradual changes in marital status, illustrated by delayed marriage, as to the increase in mobility and the relative weakening of traditional family patterns.

Author's Affiliation

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